I had the pleasure of cooking with Chef Incredible for Easter treat-making this year. Together we made some incredible inedible eggs. As it turns out this recipe, while wildly whimsical and scientific, is not one we’d recommend. If you insist, have at it though. Just swap out the (decorative colored) sand with just about anything else.
This Martha Stewart recipe for Marshmallow Easter Critters is unforgiving if your m.o. in the kitchen is relaxation and checking back in with the recipe after each step. We learned how critical timing was the first go around with what MS termed Marshmallow Magic. The gelatin sat about a minute too long and the syrup portion went only 3-4 degrees higher than the perfect 238. The boiling syrup (obviously no kids near while this was going on…) when added to the mixing bowl, definitely sparked a reaction with the gelatin. Just not the one I envisioned.
We all agreed that it was not looking promising, but we just had to optimistically turn on the mixer. The beaters didn’t budge. I’m convinced I nearly broke the mixer. The hard “candy” confection we had created in 9 seconds would not let go of any surface. I actually sliced my finger trying to get it off of the spatula.
I could not let the Easter attempt go down in this fashion. After a little first aid, we prepped again. The ingredients are cheap and simple really. Sugar, water, gelatin, sugar, vanilla extract and sand. Both kids seemed in disbelief that we’d try it again after failing so miserably. On the second attempt, we got the timing and temps right (always use a candy thermometer). Success! The syrup reached the right temp at the right time, along with a little monitoring of the temp control on the burner. The mixer spent 10 whole minutes transforming the clear liquid to white fluffy peaks – just like Martha said it would. Scientific exploration at its best.
We spread it out in our pan and sprinkled with that sugar in three even sections and let it set for an hour. Chef Incredible, my son, poked it quite a bit – testing…. Finally the kids were ready to take the sugar cookie cut-outs to the pan of spongy marshmallows. The critters separated nicely. Regrettably, we rolled the edges in more of that sand. The result: over-sugared bunnies, eggs, butterflies and tulips. In hindsight, the marshmallows alone would have tasted yummy.
I’m sure Martha hosted several kids’ focus groups for all the treats in April 2011 issue. I would have to think the sugar in these hyped them up a bit? Maybe the parents settled on this observation: If you want eye-appealing decor to last until Easter and you don’t actually want to be tempted to eat your Easter treats, make these.